Over the last few months I’ve been re-watching Buffy for the first time in a long time, so I’ve decided to start a season retrospect for the blog as an ongoing feature where I will review the a whole season Buffy the Vampire Slayer just after complete watching them . I am already part way into season 3 so today I will just review season one and a later point ill write up season two then from there on these will be written just as I finish the season. As these are retrospective reviews there may be minor spoilers.
There are a few things you need to know about season one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, while it’s in no means bad it isn’t the great show it goes on to become, mainly down to the lack of character development and the cheese fest that is created by its monster of the week formula. Right from the start of the season, the main characters are well written formed and superbly acted something of a staple for the season regulars as time goes on, however unlike other seasons very little changes for such characters (Buffy, Xander, Willow, Giles, Angel and Cordelia).
The main reason for this being the standalone episodes offer little to no room for the characters to grow, something latter seasons achieve outstandingly. The thing with season one is for every good well told, well crafted and rewarding episode like Witch (S01E03) we have a episode like The Puppet Show (S01E09) which has no real message and doesn’t have the trademark Buffy metaphor monster, it seems to exist just as another strange thing to happen at Sunnydale high school this truly is ‘filler’ episode material. The real problem lays within the ‘big bad’ the Master, he has all the potential to be a great villain but his story doesn’t go anywhere and his followers’ lacks in the depth later Buffy villains have. It’s pretty obvious the show is just trying to find its feet and all the mistakes in this season helps the show transform and evolve in to something extraordinary this can be evidently seen as the show never quite hits the lows of The Pack (S01E06) and I Robot, You Jane (S01E08) again its not to say these episodes don’t have their charm though they certainly do, even if its just as a strange peephole in to nineties pop culture.
The great thing about season one is it still has bucket loads of great Buffy moments. The strange thing about re watching season one is noticing how innocent the characters are, they’re seems to be something about knowing what evil and tragic events lay in front of them make you feel for these characters much more. Perhaps it’s their total innocence in these early seasons that make the upcoming events much more heartbreaking. Within the juvenile Scooby Gang you can already hear and feel the Whedon wit. The dialogue is as sharp, witty and quick as ever, it truly is the most memorable aspect of the show and it allows the viewer to experience something that is still rarely seen in film or TV. This combined with the general likeability of all the characters, yes I even like Cordi in season one, makes great enjoyable television.
Season one of Buffy wants to show in typical Buffy metaphor fashion ‘High school is HELL’ it achieves these through many standalone episodes and at the expense of character development of many of its season regular only Buffy and Angel seem to grow in any way, but it’s still highly enjoyable and by the time we reach the final three episodes Nightmares, Out of Mind Out of Sight and Prophecy Girl we have entered a whole new Buffy,the potential in these episodes are high but are just flashes of what’s to come in season two.